The term timber extraction has come under increasing scrutiny as the industry has seen record volumes of timber stolen from forests and forests have been left in desperate need of protection.
The number of cases of timber extraction in India has risen dramatically over the past year.
As per data from the Department of Forest Resources, the annual theft rate is at a record high of 4,981 cases and the number of reported incidents has reached 1,500.
The report also pointed out that the number is likely to rise to 6,000 incidents in the next three years.
A recent survey conducted by the Forest Protection Board in the country’s north-eastern states revealed that over two crore people have been living in dire circumstances due to timber theft in the region.
The issue of timber theft was also highlighted in a meeting of state forest ministers in Bengaluru, where forest ministers discussed the plight of forests and their forests being damaged due to forest theft.
The ministers also stressed on the need to ensure the safety of forests in order to protect them.
The meeting also emphasised the need for the state government to make it mandatory for forest owners to inform their forest department if they suspect a forest owner is in possession of timber or other timber.
According to the Forest Ministry, in the last four years, the number that has been reported by the forest department is around 50 lakh tonnes of timber, which is about 2% of the total timber production in the state.
In 2016, there were more than 11 lakh cases of forest degradation in Bengal.
The forests of West Bengal have been in the spotlight due to the ongoing forest theft cases.
The state has recorded a total of 8,400 cases of forests being burnt, which are the worst among the states.
According to the state forest department, more than 4,000 cases of the theft of forest are recorded every day in the forests of the state of West Indies.
The forest department also pointed to a spike in timber thefts in West Bengal in the past few months.
The total number of timber thefts is estimated to have increased by 8% in 2016.
It was reported that in March this year, more people were arrested for the offence of timber in West India than in any other year.
In May, the state’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced a scheme to create a network of officers who would help with the investigation of the forest crimes committed by forest thieves.